ByPeter Flynn, writer at
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best.
Peter Flynn

So did you see that clip at Comic-Con where the modern interpretation of a victorian story did a victorian interpretation of a modern story and oh gosh Sherlock is novel isn't it! It's funny that the show is willing to make fun of the slash fiction its fandom creates, yet will gladly undo its entire premise for a quick laugh at Christmas. Maybe I'm being cynical, and this one-off story in the guise of Arthur Conan Doyle's original novels is the perfect reinvigoration this show needs! Take a look for yourself!

The idea to situate Sherlock in the original Victorian setting seems like a no-brainer, if quite a cheap place for the series to go. Putting Benedict Cumberbatch in that iconic hat and giving him that pipe was probably the first speculative idea for many fans, so it's at least good that this one-off has been saved for this long. The promo for this special exhibits that usual irritatingly confident tone that Steven Moffat is so adept with.

The Sherlock Christmas Special!

There's some cool stuff on display here, from getting to see the almost absurd 19th century iterations of our characters, to Mrs Hudson straight up being told how useless she apparently is to the story. What with Watson publishing all of Sherlock's investigations, there's a weirdly meta vibe to the way this show is able to comment on its adapting of the original stories.

Pictured: Progress!
Pictured: Progress!

Mr Cumberbatch himself even gets to express Sherlock's literarily accurate brand of anti-intellectualism by dismissing Watson's stories as entirely frivolous. Perhaps the Victorian setting will distance us from the character just enough so as to remove the weird sociopathic feel that Cumberbatch has mastered. This entire Christmas special seems like a fun endeavor to tie us over until Season 4, but there's just one thing worrying me about it all.

If it's going back to basics, what's the point?

This is only a passing worry, but with Sherlock able to change itself around and don the visual trappings of Conan Doyle's original novels, is the entire premise of Sherlock set in modern times not rendered a little redundant? Are we already tired of the fresh concept that this show boasted in the first place? Fans at least seem to be pleased with this novel one-off story, yet Sherlock Season 4 is still about two years away, and a brief Victorian adventure could mean something much more sinister.

Is Steven Moffat running out of ideas?

Just use Moriarty again!
Just use Moriarty again!

Adapting the stories of Sherlock Holmes for the modern age initially seems like a surefire success. Sherlock is hardly just a case of copy-pasting the original stories, but Moffat has so far relied greatly on Conan Doyle's source material. As the show ploughs through more and more notable stories, the closer we get to it having no clue of where to go. Some critics vocalized the move of bringing back Moriarty at the end of Sherlock Season 3, and posited it as Sherlock folding in on itself to stay interesting.

Fans will no doubt stay optimistic for Sherlock Season 4, and this one off Victorian special will likely be a fun sideshow amidst the waiting. There just maintains the worry that such a spontaneous show could eventually buckle under its own weight. For all else Sherlock Season 4, check right here!


Are you hopeful for Sherlock Season 4?


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